By Donnie V. Rader/Tom O’Neil
On Tuesday afternoon (February 2) over 200 brethren from across the country gathered at a Luby’s Cafeteria in Tampa, FL to honor brethren H.E. Phillips and Connie Adams for their work and service to God and brethren through the pages of Searching the Scriptures. Both brethren were taken by complete surprise. They came to the restaurant thinking they were meeting Tom O’Neal and this writer for dinner. After all were seated, Tom read a piece written by Polly Phillips and then read a tribute to both men. Roses were given to Polly Phillips and Bobby Adams in appreciation for their work and supporting role with the paper. Then, plaques were given to these two former editors of Searching the Scriptures. Below are the words that were read at the appreciation dinner.
In Gratitude to Elwood and Connie Dr. Luke records in Luke 17:11-19 of Jesus healing ten lepers, but only one Samaritan leper returned to give glory to God. Jesus raised the question, “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?”
From this text every preacher in this room has preached a sermon on the sin of ingratitude, which is one of the most common sins of our time.
You and I do not want to be guilty of this sin toward two very beloved brethren, so we have assembled here this evening in Tampa to express our thanksgiving to two brethren who have given us their time, talents, money and lives to provide us a medium through which we might be Searching the Scriptures.
For every person present this evening, there are, no doubt, thousands of others around the world who would love to be here to show in a small way their appreciation to brethren H.E. Phillips and Connie W. Adams for their “work of faith and labor of love” over the years in editing and publishing Searching the Scriptures for 33 years.
These two brethren could not have done the outstanding job they did with the paper without the help, love and sup-port of the first ladies of Searching the Scriptures. The first first lady was fighting for her life while her husband put the first issue together in motel room in northern Florida. We are happy she is here tonight, and we salute Polly Phillips for her behind the scenes contribution to the paper. The second first lady, Bobbie, came on board when her husband took over as editor and was a stablizing influence until she went home to be with her Lord. The third first lady (Bobby) appeared on the scene when she married the editor of Searching the Scriptures and was around when the paper was with dignity laid to rest at the end of last year. We also are glad she is with us tonight and salute her for her contributions to the paper.
Searching the Scriptures was given birth by H.E. Phillips and the late James P. Miller when the church of our Lord was fighting to keep the Lord’s church separated from the human institutions of men. There were many storms and many battles to be fought, but Searching the Scriptures always did so with dignity and honor. Under honorable, fair and dignified circumstances, any number of those of us who wrote for the paper over the years would meet error and use the Scriptures to put it to flight.
These two brethren provided a medium through which brethren around the world could search what the Scriptures said, discuss what the Scriptures said, and yes, even debate what the Scriptures said on any Bible subject. These brethren were not afraid of open, fair, and frank discussion of the word of God. Such earned them the respect and admiration of brethren upon the continents of earth and the islands of the seas.
I have known these two brethren well for over 30 years. The three of us met in Atlanta at the time Elwood turned the paper over to Connie. I know the feelings expressed by them in that meeting toward each other and toward me, and I toward them. These feelings have only grown stronger since then. I know the fervent prayers that were prayed those two days. With them the only thing that matters then or now is truth. And with them the only things that determines what is truth is a “thus said the Lord.”
They are not, and have never been, ashamed or afraid of plain, old fashioned book, chapter and verse preaching and writing. This is what has made Searching the Scriptures one of the most respected and largest circulated journals among us.
I want to thank each of you for giving me the opportunity to write over the years. Others, I am sure, join me in this expression on their behalf. I want to thank each of you for what you have contributed to my life. It is hard to think of life without thinking of the four men who have contributed so much to my life, and they all four were writers for Searching the Scriptures; H.E. Phillips, Connie W. Adams, James P. Miller and Roy Cogdill.
There is a host of brethren, many whom already sleep in Jesus, who started out with you as readers, that are appreciative of your sacrifices and labors. Souls have been saved, Christians edified, churches built up in the most holy faith as a result of your labors. And I expect there will be those in generations yet unborn that will find a Searching the Scriptures and will, by the lessons in it, draw other men to the Savior of men.
On behalf of brethren everywhere who would like to show you their appreciation for your labors, Donnie V. Rader has designed a plaque for each of you on which he wrote, “In appreciation for your sacrifice and labor of love to serve God and brethren through the pages of Searching the Scriptures.”
Elwood, will you and Connie please come forward at this time so Donnie can present these to you?
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 6, p. 6-7
March 18, 1993